Capstone Research Project
The overall purpose of this capstone research project is to give you an opportunity to demonstrate many of the proficiency you have developed during your entire program of study. During the next twelve weeks, you will be required to research and analyze a criminal justice organization in order to write a 15 page paper that reports the findings of your agency analysis. see the following Paper Requirements and Mandatory Headings as a guide for your writing. Please refer to the following Sample Student Capstone Project Analysis with Instructor Comments as an example of what is expected of your capstone project.
To assess your ability to:
- Compare and contrast contemporary theories and strategies of policing in America.
- Explain the purpose and function of the correctional system in the U.S.
- Describe the purpose and function of the courts system in the U.S.
- Compare and contrast theories of crime and offending that are commonly accepted in the field of criminal justice.
- Apply critical thinking, reasoning, and analytical skills required for ethical decision-making and problem solving in criminal justice.
- Demonstrate knowledge of ethical principles, laws, and standards of professional conduct applicable to the criminal justice system.
- Apply management, administrative, and leadership skills appropriate to a criminal justice agency.
you will choose an agency or department or program that allows you to do an in-depth analysis. Once you select your agency or department or program for your analysis, you are encouraged to begin research on it and schedule an interview.
Note 1: As you work to choose your agency for analysis, bear in mind that criminal justice agencies vary across the nation. As such you should choose an agency, program, or department that allows you to provide an in-depth analysis of its strengths and weaknesses within the context of your program outcomes. To that end, keep in mind that many will be too large. For instance, it is not realistic for you to choose an entire court system. Instead, choose a particular program within that system, such as Drug Courts, or a Prison Industry program at a correctional institution, or a community policing program at a law enforcement agency. Many of the services needed to prevent crime and make neighborhoods safe are supplied by noncriminal justice agencies, including agencies with primary concern for public health, education, welfare, public works, and housing. Many of these agencies work directly with various systems of criminal justice, such as diversion and treatment programs. Individual citizens as well as public and private sector organizations have joined with criminal justice agencies to prevent crime and make neighborhoods safe. This public-private partnership innovation is one that you may choose if that agency’s primary mission and goals involve those who are at greater risks for involvement in the criminal justice system, however, a private agency will have alternative requirements, is the exception and must be approved by your professor/instructor after written request. Use the following criteria for agency/program selection:
- The agency/department/program has a criminal justice related mission
- You can apply criminogenic theories of crime prevention and offending or crime control
- The agency/department/program conducts evaluations of its programs
- The agency/department/program regularly works with other criminal justice agencies
- The agency/department/program receives public funds
Note 2: You are required to provide your agency liaison’s name, title, and contact information (the person you will interview) for follow up by your professor, if and/or when necessary.
Note 4: Please be mindful that you will not be approved to analyze large-scale subsystems such as an entire court system or state corrections agency. I encourage you to critically consider your selection. All agency/programs must be approved by your professor during the first week of the term
Note 5: Criminal cases are brought by the government through the criminal justice system, that is to say: We apprehend, try, and punish offenders by means of a loose confederation of agencies at all levels of government. Our American system of justice has evolved from the English common law into a complex series of procedures and decisions. Founded on the concept that crimes against an individual are crimes against the State, our justice system prosecutes individuals as though they victimized all of society. However, crime victims are involved throughout the process and many justice agencies have programs which focus on helping victims.
There is no single criminal justice system in this country. We have many similar systems that are individually unique. Criminal cases may be handled differently in different jurisdictions, but court decisions based on the due process guarantees of the U.S. Constitution require that specific steps be taken in the administration of criminal justice so that the individual will be protected from undue intervention from the State. From prevention, to investigation, to crime control and rehabilitation, we seek to keep our communities safe and provide for social justice.
Your choices are broad and may be within any segment of the criminal justice system. Please, provide your selected criminal justice or corollary agency with the following Letter of Explanation and Invitation to Attend.
2-4, you will continue to gather information about your selected agency. You will also be required to conduct an interview in this week. Be sure to provide affirmation with a name, phone and position description of the person (employee) you interview. Your professor/instructor will be calling your interviewee to verify the interview actually took place. Franklin University Nationwide Library databases will help you to locate resources, like books, media, newspapers or magazine that might be relevant to this capstone project. You will submit a summary of your interview, any reports and information related to your selected agency you will have gathered so far. If you are uncertain about the criteria for academic sources, please see the Criminal Justice library guide at http://guides.franklin.edu/CJAD.
Note on Agency Interview(s): You are responsible for interviewing an agency employee. Make every effort to interview an employee that has the necessary agency-wide knowledge to assess the agency’s successes and challenges. You may choose to conduct a second interview of any agency stakeholder, including another employee, client, or community partner.
Although you should develop additional agency questions applicable to your agency’s mission and place within the criminal justice system, the following interview questions are mandatory:
- What is the agency’s relationship to other elements of the criminal justice system?
- What do you perceive as the agency’s primary mission?
- How effective do you believe the agency is in meeting this mission?
- How does it develop program(s) to meet the mission?
- What is the role of science in the agency? What is the role of best-practices or best-evidence?
- How does the agency evaluate its success or failure?
- If a program is not effective, what happens to the program?
- How does this employee contribute to the agency’s mission? (What is his/her roles?)
- What is the greatest challenge to the agency internally?
- What is the greatest external (economic, cultural, political, educational…) challenge to the agency?
- How does the agency seek to overcome these challenges?
Your interview should last no more than one hour.
5-7, you will develop a full outline of your capstone paper that reflects agency information gathered and integrated with relevant course materials. Follow this Paper Requirements and Mandatory Headings as a guide for your paper outline. Make sure you include topic headings and have all information required of you included in the paper outline. Again, you should apply course materials that are applicable to your analysis.
Note: As you work on your capstone project paper, remember that you are not merely restating facts, but critically exploring them within the context of your prior course work and analytical abilities. This analysis should integrate relevant course materials including those from Introduction to Criminology, Introduction to the Criminal Justice System, Criminal Justice Management and Administration and Ethics in the Criminal Justice System. In addition, it should integrate prior learning outcomes from system-specific courses. The particular course will depend on the agencies placement within the criminal justice system and its mission and stakeholders.
In Week 11, you will complete your capstone project paper and develop eight to ten PowerPoint slides summarizing your paper, which you will give in a 10 – 15 minute presentation to your fellow students.
Please utilize Franklin University writing resources, including tutors who will review drafts and make suggestions. Note: Franklin University offers writing tutors for review and evaluation. Please visit the Student Learning Center (SLC) site for more information.
Please see the Research Paper Rubric for grading detail.